Why Travel Isn’t Everything

His words caught me off guard. It wasn’t that they were strange or foreign… In fact, they were all too familiar. How many times had I whispered these words to myself over the past year?

Don’t tie yourself down. You’re a wanderer. Don’t ever give that up. Freedom– don’t let it go. 

Usually I found this mantra encouraging. It was a reminder to follow my dreams when everyone else told me “no”. In many ways, it was a commandment to not allow others’ expectations hold me back. Hearing the words spoken aloud — a response to my long-distance relationship —  was different. They sounded strange, even offensive.

I was scared. Was I really tying myself down? Phrases like “travel while you’re young” and “see the world before settling down” had once been encouragements to fulfill my dreams, but now they only added weight to my doubts. Perhaps I was just being a silly nineteen-year-old, but questions bubbled to the surface. Was I throwing away my chance to travel unhindered? Yes, that was a possibility. Would I become like women of previous generations —  a husband and children with dreams of distant city skylines blurring into a small country house? The questions continued until they forced me to be honest.

I was scared, because I knew my whispering of freedom was just a cover up. Like my questions, it was just a way to avoid commitment and emotion. Travel allowed me to run away without admitting my fears, but I realized that I couldn’t let others’ expectations of my dreams dictate the adventures I chose.

Besides, travel isn’t everything.

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These are hard words to say, but they are true. As much as I love living out of a suitcase, there are people in my life who I love more. When I was first confronted with my own internal fears, I didn’t know what to say. Now I do…

Yes, I may be tying myself down, but I am more free than I have ever been. I am free to be honest with myself — my fears and failures, my hopes and dreams — without running away from commitment. Yes, I am tying myself down, but that doesn’t mean I’m stuck. Instead of traveling solo, I am now on an adventure with another individual, and I am free to share my dreams with him. Most importantly, I am free to love my dreams without running from fear of loving another.

While we might not like hearing that travel isn’t everything, it’s a truth we must face as adventurers. Seeing the world is wonderful, but there are things in life — relationships, family, friends, and other dreams — that are just as, if not more, important. Like everything else in life, travel has its own place and time. Despite the charm of a wayfaring life, don’t let it become an excuse to put other aspects of life on hold. Fall in love, interview for a dream job, move to a new city with a dear friend — no, it might not be what people expect from a wanderer of the world, but after all, travel isn’t everything. Besides, there are always adventures around the corner no matter where you are. Travel isn’t everything, but following your heart, loving freely, and living life without regrets is.

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10 thoughts on “Why Travel Isn’t Everything

  1. I agree with you. At 19, you’re still young and have much more of the world to experience and see. The world may appear more beautiful when done with your loved one(s) – this includes not just your other half but also your family. ❤ I wish you all the best for your future and in your LDR 🙂 Travel isn't everything but being true to ourselves is – even if it means not always wandering alone. It doesn't discount the fact that we are adventurers. All the best!

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  2. This is so great! I’m 18 and am staying home to commute to school, a large part of that being my boyfriend is here. People are saying I’m dumb for doing so and not experienceing the true “college life”, but I’m happy in my decision to stay. I enjoy life with him and even though I had (and still do have!) the chance to leave, I don’t feel the need to. Happiness first 🙂

    Thanks so much for this! You’re such a beautiful writer ❤

    XO

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    1. Thank you for dropping by, Carolyn! I’m so glad to hear you’re chasing after happiness instead of caving in to others’ expectations. The “true college” experience can be great for the first semester, but you’re not really missing out on much (dorm life isn’t all the glamour it claims). Besides, that “experience” isn’t always worth leaving behind the people you love. Best of luck with school and your relationship!

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  3. I totally agree. I am at the very beginning of my adventures in solo female travel. It is easy to get overly excited about the adventure and the experiences. In the end, it is the people in our lives that matter more than anything else. Traveling solo has nothing on experiencing life with someone that you love.

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